Picture hanging in Boardroom
Portsmouth Football Club are delighted to announce the return to the club of the historic painting of HMS Victory, which hung in the Boardroom for well over half a century – thanks to former chairman Milan Mandaric.
The picture now belongs to Mandaric, after he rescued it when it was due to be discarded after Sacha Gaydamak bought the club from Milan and started revamping it in 2006.
But now the club is community owned, he felt it was important it returned to its spiritual home.
The artwork is now on permanent loan to the club, all the while it remains in community ownership, and will be hung in the Boardroom from today’s home game with Dagenham & Redbridge.
Mandaric said: “While I was selling the club to Alexandre [Gaydamak] I specifically asked if I could have the painting as part of the transaction [to sell the club].
“It was on the point of being discarded, but he [Gaydamak] found it and even got it restored for me as it was a little bit beaten up at that point.
“I have always loved anything to do with Lord Nelson and there were times when I was at Pompey when I was down, I would go down to the Victory for some inspiration and that would put me back on my feet.
“The painting was on the wall in the Boardroom at Leicester while I was there, but when I heard the fans wanted the picture back I was delighted to oblige.
“I am so happy to see what the fans have managed to achieve at Pompey – they are very special to me – and all the while they own the club, the painting should be there.
“I'd also like to wish the club all the best for new campaign and hope the club is back in League One next season.”
Milan recently retired as Sheffield Wednesday chairman, having sold the club to new investors at the end of last season.
Blues chairman Iain McInnes said: “This is a marvellous gesture from Milan and we are delighted to accept it. The painting is of great historic and sentimental value to the club and it will please so many people to see it on display again.
“Milan and Portsmouth FC and its fans have a special bond and this gesture underlines that it remains as strong as ever.
“We are hoping Milan will be able to attend a match this season at Fratton Park as our guests.”
Entitled ‘HMS Victory towed into Gibraltar after the Battle of Trafalgar – 1805’, it was painted in the 19th century by renowned naval artist Henry J Morgan.
How the club came to acquire the painting is lost in the mists of time, but it was a feature in the Boardroom for as long as anyone can remember.
When Gaydamak bought the club in 2006, he decided to move the club’s office function to premises in Rodney Road.
He converted the historic Boardroom into a matchday lounge, dispensing with some of the historic features, including the painting and a table and 12 chairs, made with wood from the Victory.